General Commercial, Construction,and Tort Litigation: Construction defect and project disputes, business torts and contractual dispute litigation, and construction site accident litigation with representation of contractors involved in industrial, commercial and residential construction projects.
Transportation and Trucking Litigation: Representation of motor carriers and equipment operators in catastrophic injury and wrongful death litigation, as well as 24 hour emergency accident response coordination.
Representation of institutional clients including non-profits, for-profit companies, and licensed professionals in errors and omissions, malpractice, premises liability suits, and in regard to claims of neglect or abuse.
Mr. Stewart is active with a number of philanthropic groups and non-profit organizations including past term service on the Board of Directors for the YMCA of Greensburg and as chair of Strong Kids Campaign for two years. Additionally, Mr. Stewart participated in the 2014 construction campaign for Westmoreland Museum of American Art and served on the Board of Trustees of the Clan Donald Educational and Charitable Trust.
Consistent with and in furtherance of his Scottish heritage, Mr. Stewart is a past member of the Seton Hill University Bagpipe Band, competing for many years at highland games competitions throughout the east coast. The band performed at the 250th year commemoration/dedication for the Battle of Bushy Run in 2013, and with Gaelic Storm (the below-deck band in the movie “Titanic”) at the Palace Theatre in 2014, and for the Wounded Warriors parade in Westmoreland County.
Mr. Stewart enjoys tennis and squash and served as high school tennis coach for Greensburg Salem School District. He won the Pittsburgh Open Squash tournament 50 plus age singles bracket in 2012, was a tournament finalist in 2014, 2015 and most recently open age division runner up in 2018. With regard to Squash Doubles, he and his partner in February, 2022 successfully defended their 2021 PGC Open Age Squash Doubles Championship. He also partnered to win the senior’s Squash doubles championship team in Pittsburgh in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022, as well as the Grumm Squash Doubles Title in 2019 and Grumm finalist in 2022. After competing in the US Squash Masters in Philadelphia in March, 2018, Mr. Stewart participated in the 60 plus World Masters Squash Championships in August, 2018 winning a Consolation Plate Division. He was on the winning open age tennis men’s and mixed doubles championship teams for 2017, 2018 and, most recently, September 2020 men’s doubles tournaments held at the Pittsburgh Golf Club. He was a member of the Greensburg 55-Plus USTA Mixed Doubles Team which won the USTA section championship in Lancaster, PA in both 2018 and 2019 and which was scheduled to compete in the national team event in Vancouver, Washington in April 2020, which unfortunately was cancelled due to the covid pandemic. He is also a member of Mt. Lebanon’s 55-Plus Men’s USTA Team which won its Lancaster section event in September 2019 and which competed in nationals in Arizona in November 2019. Lastly, Mr. Stewart was recognized by Central Blood Bank for his 100th platelet donation in 2019.
Undergraduate:The Pennsylvania State University, B.S. Mineral Economics with emphasis in Petroleum and Natural Gas Technology, 1980
- Skull and Bones Senior Honorary Society
- Interfraternity Council President, 1979-80
- Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity President, 1978-1979
Law School:Duquesne University School of Law, 1983
- Law Review associate editor: published case note and comment for law review publication
- West Virginia
- United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
- United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia
- Federal Bar Association
- Western District of Pennsylvania
- Northern and Southern District Courts for West Virginia
- Pennsylvania and West Virginia State Bars, and Bar Associations
- Westmoreland County Bar Association, and Academy of Trial Lawyers
- Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA), with responsibility for West Virginia legal updates for TIDA 50 state compendium
In 2021, Mr. Stewart was once again recognized as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by the peer review publication in the area of civil litigation defense practice area, this is Mr. Stewart’s 13th consecutive year receiving this recognition. He was also a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of American invitation–only trial lawyer honorary society representing one-half of one percent of American lawyers. Mr. Stewart has also been recognized by Best Lawyers in America in the practice areas of Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants.
A frequent presenter to various insurance and defense groups over the past 3 decades, including Pennsylvania Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (PAMIC).
- Handled a multi-week FINRA defamation/tortious interference trial which involved a claim for multi-million compensatory and punitive damages, and also a claim by the adversary for award of attorneys fees and costs exceeding $400,000 as a prevailing party. After conclusion of proceeding, award was in the amount of $1000, against one defendant, complete defense verdict for other named defendant, and no award of the sought attorneys fees and costs.
- Tried an admitted liability trucking matter for interstate haz mat hauler in Cleveland , Ohio. Injury involved hangman’s fracture with permanent partial paralysis for plaintiff who had been ejected from vehicle as a result of impact and roll-over. Verdict for less than $300,000 was nearly $500,000 less than offered by carrier in response to 7 figure pre-trial demand.
- Premises liability defense verdict in Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas for non-profit premises operator. Suit involved allegations of failure inspect and negligent facility maintenance. The plaintiff had undergone multiple surgeries as a result of the incident and the worker’s compensation client exceeded $150,000.
- Secured a defense verdict in a trucking accident matter for an owner operator in Armstrong County. Plaintiff’s past and projected future medical bills approached $300,000 and the wage loss claim exceeded $700,000. The jury assessed 51% comparative negligence to plaintiff, resultant in a finding of contributory negligence precluding any further recovery.
- Mr. Stewart was brought in as defense counsel less than two months before a wrongful death trial in Wheeling, West Virginia, Ohio County Circuit Court, to represent a general contractor. The case involved the electrocution of a 14 year old girl, that was witnessed by her parents and grandmother, and which incident was recorded in part on a bystander’s video camera. The plaintiff’s estate had taken a default judgment against the subcontractor electrician who was out of business and uninsured, and reached joint tortfeasor settlements with the remaining defendants. After a two week trial, the jury rendered a defense verdict. Since that matter, Mr. Stewart has been retained on numerous occasions to take over or assist in the defense of catastrophic injury or death matters shortly before trial.
- Secured summary judgment in May, 2021 in an action in Clearfield County, where plaintiff asserted that she had been sexually assaulted by an instructor in a CDL training program. Stewart was substantially assisted by ZK Shareholder, Kerri Shimborske-Abel in the successful efforts to obtain summary judgment as well as a spoliation order.
- Secured dismissal of a wrongful death action involving allegations of malpractice brought against various physicians and pharmacies in a suit where the decedent was asserted to have died as a result of combined drug poisoning/overdose including as to opioids. Zimmer Kunz represented one of the pharmacy defendants. The initial dismissal obtained via Preliminary Objections in the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County was affirmed by the Pennsylvania Superior Court on March 15, 2021. Stewart was substantially assisted by fellow ZK Shareholder, Sharon Hall.
- Secured dismissal by way of summary judgment of a dog bite action brought against owners of rental property in the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County in March, 2021. Stewart was assisted by ZK Associate, Ben McGiffin in this matter.
- Secured dismissal in the United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania pursuant to a Motion to Dismiss in a matter involving an asserted sexual assault of a minor by a bus driver. Zimmer Kunz represented a private educational institution where the student was enrolled. The Zimmer Kunz Motion to Dismiss was premised upon a lack of duty argument which also addressed an asserted breach of contract claim based upon the school parent handbook. ZK Shareholder, Joseph Butcher provided lead efforts which resulted in the grant of the Motion to Dismiss in January, 2021.
- Secured dismissal of a premises liability action involving head injuries sustained by a business invitee where injuries were asserted to have resulted from various basement stairwell deficiencies including lack of handrail. Summary judgment entered in January, 2021 by the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County with a finding that plaintiff failed to meet plaintiff’s causation burden of proof. Stewart was substantially assisted by ZK Shareholder, Kerri Shimborske-Abel and Associate, Ben McGiffin in this litigation.